*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
For me, personally and professionally, Atlanta and Carolina are two of the most boring ‘good’ teams I watch week-to-week. They are typically the same team week in and week out. Cam drives the Panthers’ bus and throws a lot to Christian McCaffery and Luke Kuechly is awesome. Matt Ryan is average/OK, throws a lot to Julio, Devonta Freeman is dull but scores TDs, but everything looks better with Tevin Coleman, and the Falcons defense is solid+.
They’re both good teams, but as an evaluator I about fall asleep watching them. They played…it was close…the home team was better and won. Yada, yada.
However, on the re-watch, I did see a couple of fresh things that happened that caught my attention with two rookies; and we’ll start there…
Fantasy Player Notes:
-- Let’s talk rookie/1st-round pick WRs here…
Calvin Ridley (4-64-1/5) really had a nice game here. In Week 1, he was tentative and had no catches. In this game, he looked like the most confident receiver the team has. Best he has looked from the preseason to last week.
Ridley is a good WR, I just don’t think he was near the best WR in the 2018 NFL Draft.
If you’re holding Mohammed Sanu cards for some reason, you should fold them…they are worthless. This has already become Julio #1 and Ridley, now, #2.
On the Panthers’ side, D.J. Moore (1-51-1/2) had a moment. A strike down the middle and then Moore just turned on the jets and was gone.
I don’t think Moore is a great WR, technically, but he is a great athlete at WR and that’s a useful thing. He had a jet sweep early in this game and it didn’t go far, but I was like ‘wow, I forget how great an athlete that guy is!’ On the live watch, I thought the Moore 51-yard TD was just a right place/right time catch and run. On the re-watch, I was like ‘wow, I forget how great an athlete that guy is!’
Both WRs have fantasy issues holding them back…
Ridley has Julio getting all the good targeting. Moore has his WR limitations + Cam is not typically a high-volume passer that launches WRs to fantasy goodness. That being said…these guys are legit talents in their own way. Ridley is like T.Y. Hilton/Golden Tate, but not the #1 guy, he’s more a sweet #2. Moore is hard to define because he’s not a great technician at WR. Bigger, better Randall Cobb maybe? Hard to profile him with a current WR.
-- Devonta Freeman injured, and Tevin Coleman (16-107-0, 4-18-0/4) steps right in with 100+ yards and looking better than Freeman ever does.
We all expected this, but the thing to note – I don’t think Freeman is coming back for a while. I wouldn’t be shocked if Freeman got shutdown/had surgery. Coleman might be an interesting ‘buy low’ gamble. He’s going good now, and that perks up the price -- but people think Freeman is right around the corner to take Tevin back away, so they are willing to ‘dump’ the hot potato in a Gio Bernard, today, type fashion.
Ito Smith (9-46-0, 1-8-0/1) filled in as the #2, and he was OK…no threat to Tevin’s #1 role.
-- Jarius Wright (5-62-1/7) just stole Curtis Samuel’s 2018 upside. Samuel’s injury cost him a chance to start Week 1 and be a breakout performer in 2018…and, now, Wright just happened.
Wright is a Norv Turner guy from their Minnesota days. We’re hearing the Wright is so good in the locker room, etc., and now he’s putting up numbers. Samuel will not be rushed back…and when back he’s buried behind Wright’s leadership and Moore’s sparks of ‘what could be’.
Bad week for Samuel, who didn’t even play.
-- Rookie TE Ian Thomas (2-10-0/3) didn’t do much, but he looks really good/solid. I don’t know that he can matter for FF, but we’re watching him.
-- Damontae Kazee (3 tackles) got kicked out of the game for a targeting hit on Cam, and he deserved it. Kazee would have had 10+ tackles easy in this game the rate he was going.
Kazee is going to be a neat IDP DB, but he may get so many hit fines, penalties, ejections that he never fully emerges as a trusted option.
He’s not ‘cheap’ hitting as he is ultra-aggressive.
Snap Counts of Interest:
40 = Tevin
19 = Ito
48 = Julio, Sanu
35 = Ridley
66 = Funchess
58 = Torrey Smith
44 = Jarius Wright
17 = DJ Moore